B-162928, DEC. 8, 1967

B-162928: Dec 8, 1967

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EMPLOYEE WHO TRAVELED FROM RESIDENCE TO PLACE OF DUTY ON THE BASIS THAT HEADQUARTERS WAS AT ANOTHER LOCATION MUST HAVE CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION DISALLOWED SINCE NAMING OF PARTICULAR PLACE AS HEADQUARTERS ON TRAVEL VOUCHERS DOES NOT CONTROL WHEN FACTS ARE OTHERWISE. THEREFORE DISALLOWANCE IS PROPER. FACT THAT DISALLOWANCE WAS MADE WITHOUT HEARING CLAIMANT IS ADVISED CLAIMS ARE SETTLED ON BASIS OF WRITTEN RECORD. FACTS AS REPORTED BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE ACCEPTED IN ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE TO CONTRARY. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUNDS THAT HAMILTON WAS YOUR PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND THE PLACE OF DUTY AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION.

B-162928, DEC. 8, 1967

TRAVEL EXPENSES - BETWEEN HOME AND DUTY DECISION TO INTERIOR DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEE DENYING CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION FROM HOME TO WORK SITES. EMPLOYEE WHO TRAVELED FROM RESIDENCE TO PLACE OF DUTY ON THE BASIS THAT HEADQUARTERS WAS AT ANOTHER LOCATION MUST HAVE CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION DISALLOWED SINCE NAMING OF PARTICULAR PLACE AS HEADQUARTERS ON TRAVEL VOUCHERS DOES NOT CONTROL WHEN FACTS ARE OTHERWISE. THEREFORE DISALLOWANCE IS PROPER. FACT THAT DISALLOWANCE WAS MADE WITHOUT HEARING CLAIMANT IS ADVISED CLAIMS ARE SETTLED ON BASIS OF WRITTEN RECORD. EVENT OF DISPUTES, FACTS AS REPORTED BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE ACCEPTED IN ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE TO CONTRARY.

TO MR. FRED R. WAYLETT:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 20, 1967, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 27, 1967, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION FROM HAMILTON, MONTANA, TO WEST FORK RANGER STATION AND DARBY RANGER STATION FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 25, 1957, TO MAY 1, 1967.

YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUNDS THAT HAMILTON WAS YOUR PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND THE PLACE OF DUTY AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION.

THE FOREST SUPERVISOR, BITTERROOT NATIONAL FOREST, HAS FURNISHED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR CLAIM:

"MR. WAYLETT BEGAN WORK ON THE BITTERROOT NATIONAL FOREST EFFECTIVE APRIL 25, 1957, ON A 180 DAY APPOINTMENT AS A SCALER. FORM FS 676 SHOWS HIS HEADQUARTERS TO BE HAMILTON AND STATION TO BE HAMILTON.

"ON OCTOBER 14, 1957, HIS APPOINTMENT WAS EXTENDED AND THE STATION DESIGNATION WAS CHANGED TO WEST FORK RANGER STATION.

"WE HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO FIND ANY TIME SLIPS OR TRAVEL VOUCHERS OF WAYLETT'S FOR THE PERIOD OF APRIL 25, 1957 TO JANUARY 12, 1958.

"ON APRIL 7, 1958, MR. WAYLETT RECEIVED A CAREER-CONDITIONAL APPOINTMENT. HIS HEADQUARTERS WAS TO BE ESTABLISHED BY THE BUREAU (WITHIN OR ADJACENT TO THE BITTERROOT NATIONAL FOREST). HIS TRAVEL VOUCHERS AND TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SHOW DARBY RANGER STATION, DARBY, MONTANA, TO BE HIS OFFICIAL STATION, BEGINNING MARCH 31, 1958. HE WAS PAID MILEAGE FOR USE OF PERSONAL CAR FROM APRIL 1, 1958 TO JULY 30, 1962, FOR TRAVEL FROM DARBY RANGER STATION TO SCALING OPERATION AND RETURN. TOTAL MILEAGE PAID DURING THIS PERIOD WAS $1,154.33.

"SINCE DECEMBER 22, 1963, ALL PERSONNEL ACTIONS AND TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS HAVE SHOWN HAMILTON, MONTANA, TO BE FRED WAYLETT'S OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. MR. WAYLETT'S WORK STATION HAS BEEN DARBY FROM THIS TIME TO THE PRESENT TIME.

"MR. WAYLETT HAS WORKED AS A FORESTRY AID AND FORESTRY TECHNICIAN WORKING AS A CHECK SCALER AND SCALER-IN-CHARGE AT ASSIGNED SCALING STATIONS ON THE BITTERROOT NATIONAL FOREST SINCE APRIL 25, 1957. THE SCALING OPERATIONS HAVE BEEN IN AND NEAR DARBY MOST ALL OF THE TIME.'

WE NOTE THAT YOUR CLAIM WAS RECEIVED HERE ON SEPTEMBER 15, 1967. THEREFORE, WE ARE UNABLE TO CONSIDER ANY PART OF YOUR CLAIM PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 15, 1957, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 71A TO THE EFFECT THAT ANY CLAIM NOT RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE THE CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED IS FOREVER BARRED.

WITH RESPECT TO THE PERIOD AFTER SEPTEMBER 15, 1957, THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT YOU PERFORMED ANY SUBSTANTIAL DUTY AT HAMILTON OR OPERATED THEREFROM IN TRAVELING TO YOUR WORK SITES. THE NAMING OF HAMILTON AS YOUR OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS ON CERTAIN TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS FOR PART OF THE PERIOD IN QUESTION IS NOT CONTROLLING. WE HAVE HELD THAT THE OFFICIAL STATION OF AN EMPLOYEE IS A MATTER OF FACT AND NOT ONE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DESIGNATION. 22 COMP. GEN. 342; 31 ID. 289; 32 ID. 87.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE WEST FORK RANGER STATION WAS YOUR OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS FOR THE SHORT PERIOD YOU OPERATED OUT OF THAT LOCATION AND THAT FOR THE PERIOD SUBSEQUENT THERETO DARBY WAS YOUR OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN YOUR PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND THE SITES OF YOUR HEADQUARTERS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED. SEE 36 COMP. GEN. 450.

CONCERNING YOUR STATEMENT THAT YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED WITHOUT A HEARING YOU MAY BE ADVISED THAT CLAIMS IN OUR OFFICE ARE SETTLED ON THE BASIS OF THE WRITTEN RECORD. WHILE WE ARE ALWAYS AVAILABLE TO DISCUSS SUCH CLAIMS WE HAVE NO PROCEDURE FOR CONDUCTING ANY FORMAL HEARINGS FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE FACTS OR DETERMINING WHETHER THE CLAIMS SHOULD BE ALLOWED OR DISALLOWED. WE ORDINARILY DEPEND ON THE FACTS FURNISHED IN LETTERS OR REPORTS FROM THE AGENCIES AND THE CLAIMANTS INVOLVED. IN THE EVENT OF DISPUTES BETWEEN THE CLAIMANTS AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES AS TO SUCH FACTS, IT IS OUR PRACTICE TO ACCEPT THE FACTS AS REPORTED BY THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IN THE ABSENCE OF APPROPRIATE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THE SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 27, 1967, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM MUST BE SUSTAINED.